Is Bitcoin Halal?

Press TV: A report by Iran’s Mehr news agency last week showed that bitcoin miners were using power in buildings and properties that enjoy a lower price for electricity, including factories, greenhouses, government offices and mosques.

…A spokesman of Iran’s Ministry of Energy said on Monday that the country’s power grid had become unstable as a result of increased mining of cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin mining in a mosque may seem outré but at least it’s not money lenders in the mosque. In fact, Bitcoin is halal, at least according to one source (quoted here):

As a payment network, Bitcoin is halal. In fact, Bitcoin goes beyond what more conventional closed banking networks offer. Unlike conventional bank networks which use private ledgers where there’s no guarantee that the originator actually owns the underlying assets, Bitcoin guarantees with mathematical certainty that the originator of the transfer owns the underlying assets. Conventional banks operate using the principle of fractional reserve, which is prohibited in Islam.

Muhammad was a merchant and much more open to business than some traditional Christian interpretations. For example, compare Jesus, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” with one of Muhammad’s sayings:

Abu Said related that the Prophet said: The truthful and trustworthy businessman will be in the company of Prophets, saints and martyrs on the Day of Judgment. (Darimi, Tirmidhi)


Yes, Jesus was the sort of person who today would be publicly criticizing billionaires.

Indeed, he would have and abortion clinics too of course.

'he would have and abortion clinics'

Assuming this means 'hated,' one should have told these people, who were unaware of that hatred only a few decades ago - 'And here is Randall Balmer with “A Pastor’s Son Notes When Politics Came to the Pulpit“ - " When I lived in Iowa in the 1970s, my father was pastor of one of the largest evangelical congregations in the state. Although he remained a Republican to his death, my father was resolutely apolitical in the pulpit. Things began to change for Iowa evangelicals — and for politically conservative evangelicals elsewhere — in the late 1970s.

Iowa, in fact, served as the proving ground for abortion as a political issue. Until 1978, evangelicals in Iowa were overwhelmingly indifferent about abortion as a political matter. Even after the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, most evangelicals considered abortion a “Catholic issue.” The Iowa race for U.S. Senate in 1978 pitted Dick Clark, the incumbent Democrat, against a Republican challenger, Roger Jepsen. All of the polling and the pundits viewed the election an easy win for Clark, who had walked across the state six years earlier in his successful effort to unseat Republican Jack Miller. In the final weekend of the 1978 campaign, however, pro-lifers (predominantly Catholic) leafleted church parking lots all over the state. Two days later, in an election with a very low turnout, Jepsen narrowly defeated Clark, thereby persuading Paul Weyrich and other architects of the Religious Right that abortion would work for them as a political issue.''

This isn’t history, this is memory. If you’re a Gen-Xer or a Baby Boomer, you lived through this.'

And yes, I am old enough to have seen that shift in my lifetime.

In the initial correspondence, "abortion clinics" is the object of the participle "criticizing." I don't know where "hated" came from.

I pay a quick visit each day a few websites and websites to read
posts, however this website presents quality based posts.

Ah, I though that the sentence was 'he would have hated abortion clinics,' with the 'and' replaced.

You are quite right, that is the proper reading. However, it is quite unlikely that Jesus would have cared much about abortion, or despised abortion clinics, at least if leading evangelicals in my youth are to be trusted regarding the thinking of Jesus, and how abortion was a Catholic issue of no particular relevance to Christians with a clearer view of what Jesus actually cared about than the Vatican and its various obsessions.

It has been fascinating to watch this shift in my lifetime, actually.

Next time to speak with Jesus, ask him why I haven't I wasn't born to parents with a billion dollar net worth.

maybe so that you would comment here . Unlikely you would be if you had a $1B Net worth.

My guess is that Jesus knew what kind of assh... er, person you would be and figured you didn't deserve billionaire parents. No offense...

A rich man in Jesus’ time was rarely the byproduct of free exchange, innovation and fair dealing. Becoming rich by invading Egypt is a little different than inventing an iPod that everyone likes. One would think Alex, as a free market champion, would recognize that Christian theology - with its primacy of the individual - played some role in the development of enlightenment thought and the resulting explosion of growth in the western world. But maybe Alex views the Muslim world as a free market paradise.


Excellent comment. I was going to say something similar but you beat me to it.

Hostility to Christianity, and amity to Islam, are required if one is to avoid becoming a pariah in the faculty lounge. Alex doesn't want some administrator to "unleash the students," so he goes along. One might fault his lack of courage, but it would be unfair to set up an academic system that prizes conformity and then blame the participants for lack of independence. It would be like criticizing geldings for being sterile.

It's not a lounge, it's a rathskellar dammit!

"the resulting explosion of growth in the western world."

You mean the explosion that started over 1700 years after Jesus? When the primacy of Christdom actually waned a bit so rational thought could poke through?

The Enlightenment was built on principles ancient Greeks came up with. Christianity was its main enemy.

If the Iran bank ran a single block chain node and offered subsidized miner fees then most of the internal exchanges would be resolved inside that node and that node generates total less electricity. No? I am not sure.

OK, I think I have this.

The Iran Islamic Bank Halal uses the following block chain algorithm:

The bank offers a block chain node for all local exchanges. It also watches the master chain for any double entries (sending invalid entries is valid). Thus by watching for, and prosecuting double entries, the Peoples Bank can hold its portion of the chain, the leg with internal exchanges. Thus it can act as a corridor bank, it has a ledger queue which can be priced. Then at odd intervals, as needed, the people bank submits its branch to the general miner pool. This works. But it discourages speculation because timing is queue based, locally. But is allows the peoples bank to control internal miner fees, treat those as a zero bound white noise miner's account at the people's bank. Iran would control its own share of miner fees.

difficult to believe " that the country’s power grid had become unstable as a result of increased mining of cryptocurrencies."

more likely that national power grid is in poor condition to start with... how many megawatts could cryptocurrencies possibly consume routinely?

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are not invulnerable -- they are basically software-code; such software can be (and has been) manipulated by hymans (insiders or hackers)

Those hymans will get you every time.

We're bigger than U.S. Steel!

"played some role in the development of enlightenment thought and the resulting explosion of growth in the western world."

I see, about one thousand years after becoming the West...

Abu Said (or his source) may have had his tongue in his cheek.

Both Christianity and Islam are against usury, the lending of money at interest. While Judaism forbids interest bearing loans made to fellow Jews, while allowing them to non-Jews.

Our host misuses the word "halal" (Islamic dietary law) just like the word "kosher" is abused.

For my many and grievous sins, I worked with banks and bankers. One job entailed advising a bank being formed in the US by Muslims that wanted to conform with Sharia (Islamic laws cover nearly every aspect of human activities). They were afraid the business plan would not "fly" and that reporting on Federal call reports would violate the ban on charging interest. I had to learn what was "kosher" for an Islamic bank. Simply it is subterfuge. The bank "buys," co-owns, avcts as partner with the borrower on the collateral, inventory, whatever is financed and "participates" in the profit. They can't state or impose an interest rate. That way [wink, wink] it don't look [wink, wink] like charged interest.

It was one of the more annoying things I ever had to work. My main thing was as long as they complied with Sharia, why worry about some government report showing interest income. The deal never took off.

Dealing with the FBI guys that worked the Nigerian cash letters was more fun.

As Bitcoin mining gives diminishing returns, the ability to suck up as much energy as possible as cheaply as possible to power the server network performing such mining becomes the crucial deciding factor to one's profitability. Figuring out ways to "steal" (essentially harvest power generated by others) power generated in markets that don't have strong methods of metering and pricing power is key in the long run for cryptocurrencies as presently structured.

Why isn't some GMU student using electricity from his dorm room to mine bitcoins? No one monitors his/her electricity usage.

To be sure, many people are and have frequently in the past (though presently not bitcoin, but GPU-minable currencies like ethereum). However mining operations are at increasingly industrial scales where avoiding notice is impossible. Running a few hundred watts worth won't generate enough profit to even be worth bothering.

Bitcoin guarantees with mathematical certainty that the originator of the transfer owns the underlying assets

Well, guarantees someone knew a password to authorize a transfer.

Doesn't mean it wasn't just an attack on a weak password, gunpoint-robbery, or other illicit means of enacting the transfer, which do not guarantee legitimate moral ownership.

Which should matter from a religious-moral point of view.

..."The tr---uthful and tr---ustworthy businessman..." Wonder if tr-----ump qualifies ?

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